Hurtling (love that word) Through Life…

I have neglected my blog.  Oh dear…. well, I’m back now – I have a good excuse, honest!  I have been poorly for a while now but have finally been diagnosed.  We are still experimenting as far as correct medication and dose goes, but we are getting there.  Fine, OK.  Then about a month ago I had a real scare – paramedics were dispatched and everything!  Long story short, I had a mild heart attack.  Thankfully I feel fine now apart from the nervousness of the tests I shall be undergoing on Wednesday for what they think is an underlying problem…hopefully my heart is not broken for good! 😉

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In addition, I am preparing for a couple of big events and am quite busy in the studio…no, don’t tell me to ease up at work!  I find being home and idle far more stressful than being at my tranquil little studio, creating and designing 😀

So, what have I been working on?  As my Facebook family will tell you, I have been pretty much obsessed with making flowers!  All sorts and colours and I am still enthralled by the endless combination possibilities…

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Necklaces, bracelets, earrings…

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And, as my mind is a tangential entity, led to trees,

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And then fairies and angels…

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And Dragons and damsels….not forgetting the odd mermaid! 😉

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Which brought me back to Goddesses 😀

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And finally, I’d like to show you my favourite piece – it would make a fabulous statement bridal necklace – me?  I’d wear it supermarket shopping but that’s just the way I roll 😉

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I am very thankful to have my dream job of creating lovely things with molten glass and I think it’s saved me, in many ways.  Why did I get ill?  Probably from a number of years of high stress and heartache…with a combination of an underlying condition, poorly managed medication and a viral infection!  I’m hoping to avoid this combination again!  What this illustrates, is something I’ve been banging on about for years now – life is too short, you only live once, grab every chance and opportunity and run with it.  Do Not Wait.  Live and love like each day is your last…live in the moment, not in the past or in the future – they don’t exist!

Great big hugs to all…yes, that means YOU 🙂

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Maybe Not Warts And All – 2013

I’ve been sitting here thinking about the year gone past.  Lots of quite big things have happened – some good, others not so good.  I’m wondering how much I should share…how vulnerable it would make me to divulge some of the emotional ups and downs that accompanied the events.  After all, this was supposed to be a blog about my journey with glass but on the odd occassion, like the time I wrote about my Grandmother, I find it difficult to separate.  I also needed to consider how much detail I could include as invariably, the highs and lows are intertwined with other people…I have tried to keep things neutral as a result but hopefully there are some ‘take-home messages’ that I have learned!

So, how to organise it!  Chronologically, it’s all a jumble, so I shall just blurt it all out 😀

I moved into my lovely new flat!  I had been waiting for it to be finished for quite a while, so to be able to have our own space again was, and is wonderful!  We can walk about the place in our pants – or not, as the mood takes us!  Oh the freedom 😉

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This was a year when I learned a lot about myself…and other people.  I, like most of us, consider myself a fairly good judge of character and always give people the benefit of the doubt.  I learned in the harshest possible way that actions, or lack of, really do speak louder than words and that I have to trust more in my inner voice, despite not wanting to sometimes.  I have always tried to give second chances, after all, we all mess up from time to time but there has to be a limit and we have to trust our gut feelings much more!  I have met some really unpleasant characters – individuals that are no stranger to lies and are quite happy, joyful in fact, in the telling – these people seem able to project a much different face than the true one .  One of them – not one of the worst ones – was the coach driver who almost squished me and my car, who blatantly lied about the circumstances!  Maybe I’ve led a sheltered life, as I am still shocked when things like this happen.  Thankfully there wasn’t much damage and I was just shook up!  Experiences such as that serve to remind us how fragile life is and how vigilant we need to be in our fast paced world as things can happen in the blink of an eye!  I have learned to forgive…

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The second picture is me being silly on a shopping trip…it’s just there to fill the space 😉

One of the worst injustices was with a government agency, who wouldn’t accept the evidence they asked for and who caused serious hardship – what made it worse was that the MP who I asked to help me was as helpful as a chocolate teapot! 😉  I have chosen not to forgive on this occasion!

I had an amazing day with glass Master Lucio Bubaco, who was a real inspiration – I would love to study with him!

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I have also met lots of wonderful, open, wise and joyful people this year.  In the studio I have met many kindred spirits, who have become my friends.  At the Goddess conference there were literally hundreds of amazing people – friendly, generous, helpful and accepting.  I know I shall see many of these lovely people again and the very fact that folk like these exist, gives me great hope for the future!

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I’ve had lots of visitors to my new home – not all scary I might add!  And met up with old friends from Uni days – prompted by a visit to the UK by Melissa and Emile, over from Australia!  It was fantastic to see them and we should all make more effort to keep up with friends – it’s just not the same saying hello on FB as it is sitting round a table, sharing stories and wine 😀

We have a new addition to our family 🙂  Her name is Beau Bear (as in Polar) Monroe (as in Marylin) but because she was too small to wash her own behind when we got her, has earned the nickname of Poo Head!  For a few weeks we had to chase her around with wipes to wash her dirty bum!

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It’s definitely been a year of good and bad – I have been unwell to top it all.  After having not visited a Dr for many years, I now have my own reserved seat – hopefully all will be sorted out in time…

And finally, I moved into my new studio, that already has a whole blog to itself!

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I hope you have all had a good year – if it hasn’t been so good, my commiserations go to you, along with a big hug. When things don’t seem to be going well, it’s easy to colour everything in a negative shroud – so next year, I plan to get a big jar and every time something nice happens, even the tinniest thing – such as getting stuck at the traffic lights but seeing the most beautiful rainbow ever, I shall write it on a scrap of paper and pop it in that jar!  Then I shall really be able to count my blessings!

I’ll leave you with a few glassy pictures – ah, you knew I would, didn’t you 😉

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The new Goddesses are from a range I call ‘Quaintrelles’.  A Quaintrelle is a woman who ’emphasises a life of passion expressed through personal style, leisurely pastimes, charm and cultivation of life’s pleasures’.  Sounds very much like me don’t you think! 😉

This is my last post before year end.  I know we have a few weeks to go yet and anything could happen (please make it nice things)! I’ll need something to start the new year off, so if anything happens between now and then, I’ll save it 😉

My very best wishes to you all, whatever you plan to celebrate.  My wish list includes peace on earth – please Universe!  Embrace each other’s differences, don’t hold back, live in the now – be true to yourself, honest to others…see you all next year! 😀

Love…I’ve Been Doing it Wrong…

Not my usual but these poems resonated with me on a deep level and I wanted to share them with you.   Yes, you…

To Love a man

If you want to change the world Love a man; really love him
Choose the one whose Soul calls to yours clearly who sees you; who is brave enough to be afraid
Accept his hand and guide him gently to your hearts blood
Where he can feel your warmth upon him and rest there
And burn his heavy load in your fires
Look into his eyes look deep within and see what lies dormant or awake or shy or expectant there
Look into his eyes and see there his fathers and grandfathers and all the wars and madness their spirits fought in some distant land, some distant time
Look upon their pains and struggles and torments and guilt; without judgment
And let it all go
Feel into his ancestral burden
And know that what he seeks is safe refuge in you
Let him melt in your steady gaze
And know that you need not mirror that rage
Because you have a womb, a sweet, deep gateway to wash and renew old wounds

If you want to change the world Love a man, really love him
Sit before him, in the full majesty of your woman in the breath of your vulnerability
In the play of your child innocence in the depths of your death
Flowering invitation, softly yielding, allowing his power as a man
To step forward towards you…and swim in the Earth’s womb, in silent knowing, together
And when he retreats…because he will…flees in fear to his cave…
Gather your grandmothers around you…envelope in their wisdoms
Hear their gentle shusshhhed whispers,
calm your frightened girls’ heart
Urging you to be still…and wait patiently for his return
Sit and sing by his door, a song of remembrance,
that he may be soothed, once more

If you want to change the world, love a man, really love him
Do not coax out his little boy
With guiles and wiles and seduction and trickery
Only to lure him…to a web of destruction
To a place of chaos and hatred
More terrible than any war fought by his brothers
This is not feminine this is revenge
This is the poison of the twisted lines
Of the abuse of the ages, the rape of our world
And this gives no power to woman it reduces her as she cuts off his balls
And it kills us all
And whether his mother held him or could not
Show him the true mother now
Hold him and guide him in your grace and your depth
Smoldering in the center of the Earth’s core
Do not punish him for his wounds that you think don’t meet your needs or criteria
Cry for him sweet rivers
Bleed it all back home

If you want to change the world love a man, really love him
Love him enough to be naked and free
Love him enough to open your body and soul to the cycle of birth and of death
And thank him for the opportunity
As you dance together through the raging winds and silent woods
Be brave enough to be fragile and let him drink in the soft, heady petals of your being
Let him know he can hold you stand up and protect you
Fall back into his arms and trust him to catch you
Even if you’ve been dropped a thousand times before
Teach him how to surrender by surrendering yourself
And merge into the sweet nothing, of this worlds’ heart

If you want to change the world, love a man, really love him
Encourage him, feed him, allow him, hear him, hold him, heal him
And you, in turn, will be nourished and supported and protected
By strong arms and clear thoughts and focused arrows
Because he can, if you let him, be all that you dream


To Love a woman

If you want to change the world…
Love a woman-really Love her.
Find the one who calls to your soul, who doesn’t make sense.
Throw away your check list and put your ear to her heart and listen.Hear the names, the prayers, the songs of every living thing – every winged one, every furry and scaled one, every underground and underwater one, every green and flowering one, every not yet born and dying one…Hear their melancholy praises back to the One who gave them life. If you haven’t heard your own name yet, you haven’t listened long enough. If your eyes aren’t filled with tears, if you aren’t bowing at her feet, you haven’t ever grieved having almost lost her.

If you want to change the world… love a woman-one woman beyond yourself, beyond desire and reason,
beyond your male preferences for youth, beauty and variety and all your superficial concepts of freedom.
We have given ourselves so many choices
we have forgotten that true liberation comes from standing in the middle of the Soul’s fire and burning through our resistance to Love.

-There is only one Goddess.
Look into Her eyes and see, really See!
if she is the one to bring the axe to your head..

If not, walk away. Right now!
Don’t waste time “trying.”
Know that your decision has nothing to do with her
because ultimately it’s not with who,
but ‘when’ we choose to surrender.

If you want to change the world… Love a woman.
Love her for life-beyond your fear of death,
beyond your fear of being manipulated
by the Mother inside your head.
Don’t tell her you’re willing to die for her.
Say you’re willing to LIVE with her,
plant trees with her and watch them grow.
Be her hero by telling her how Beautiful she is in her vulnerable Majesty,
by helping her to remember every day that she IS Goddess
through your adoration and devotion.

If you want to change the world… Love a woman
in all her faces, through all her seasons
and she will Heal you of your schizophrenia-
your double-mindedness and half-heartedness
which keeps your Spirit and body separate-
which keeps you alone and always looking outside your Self for something to make your life worth living.
There will always be another woman..
Soon the new shiny one will become the old dull one
and you’ll grow restless again, trading in women like cars,
trading in the Goddess for the latest object of your desire.

Man doesn’t need any more choices.
What man needs is Woman, the Way of the Feminine,
of Patience and Compassion, non-seeking, non-doing,
of breathing in one place and sinking deep intertwining roots strong enough to hold the Earth together
while she shakes off the cement and steel from her skin.

If you want to change the world… love a woman, just One woman.

Love and protect her as if she is the last holy vessel. Love her through her fear of abandonment
which she has been holding for all of humanity.
No, the wound is not hers to heal alone.
No, she is not weak in her codependence.
If you want to change the world… Love a woman
all the way through until she believes you,
until her instincts, her visions, her voice, her art, her passion, her wildness have returned to her- until she is a force of love more powerful than all the political media demons who seek to devalue and destroy her.

If you want to change the world,
lay down your causes, your guns and protest signs.
Lay down your inner war, your righteous anger
and Love a woman…beyond all of your striving for greatness, beyond your tenacious quest for enlightenment.
The holy grail stands before you
if you would only take her in your arms
and let go of searching for something beyond this intimacy.

What if peace is a dream which can only be re-membered through the heart of Woman?
What if a man’s love for Woman, the Way of the Feminine
is the key to opening Her heart?
If you want to change the world…Love a woman
to the depths of your shadow,
to the highest reaches of your Being,
back to the Garden where you first met her,
to the gateway of the Rainbow realm
where you walk through together as Light as One,
to the point of no return,
to the ends and the beginning of a new Earth.

~Lisa Citore

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Forgive, don’t forget lest we un-learn our lessons but forgive…and love!  Sending loads out there, catch a bit, go on, you know you want to 😀

Glastonbury Goddess Conference 2013

Hello!  Long time no see I’m afraid.  What with the lead up to the conference, the conference itself and then the busy period immediately afterwards, I have shamefully neglected my blog 😦

But on with the story to celebrate and relive a fantastic week at the 18th Glastonbury Goddess Conference!  It all starts with me dying my hair bright orange – yes I know, ‘what was she thinking?’, I hear you mutter as you shake your head.  For some reason, I had the urge to have orange hair.  I can’t explain it, apart from the romantic notion of looking like a pre-raphaelite painting but I did it the night before we were due to set off for the West… I awoke startled at myself and a little bit horrified but soon forgot all about it as I hadn’t done any packing etc!

We set off at 10.30 am, thinking that we would have plenty of time to get there and set up in the Town Hall before 5pm.  Easy peasy, it should only take 5 hours if we include two decent motorway service stops.  You know what’s coming, don’t you.  Yup, traffic jams.  Horrible, long, hot jams that make you think the car will overheat…  Ok, so I should have expected the M25 jam.  It’s notorious after all and silly me for thinking we would get away with it because of the time we were travelling.  The worst was yet to come though, on the A303.  Next year, someone remind me to find an alternative route!  I kid you not, we sat in that jam for almost 2 hours and for what?  Two seets of traffic lights, that’s what.  Gggrrrr!  On the upside, the sign for Stonehenge was in our sight for a good hour and we even got to see the ancient site of Stonehenge itself, 2013-07-29 14.53.45

albeit as we sped past because as you might be able to guess, at the most interesting part of the journey, the lights were finally in our favour.

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Just in case you have never heard of it Stonehenge is a prehistoric monument in Wiltshire, England. One of the most famous sites in the world, Stonehenge is the remains of a ring of standing stones set within earthworks. It is in the middle of the most dense complex of Neolithic and Bronze Age monuments in England, including several hundred burial mounds.

Archaeologists believe it was built anywhere from 3000 BC to 2000 BC. Radiocarbon dating in 2008 suggested that the first stones were raised between 2400 and 2200 BC,[2] whilst another theory suggests that bluestones may have been raised at the site as early as 3000 BC.

Anyway, we finally made it to the Town Hall at 5.15pm (no one recognised me because of my orange hair), Just enough time to unload the car and realise that I had left my bank card in the petrol station the previous day when I had filled the car for the journey.  Deep joy.  No cash = no dinner.  We needn’t have worried as the Goddess came to the rescue!  There was a Pot Luck spread at the Goddess Hall and we were invited.  The food was delicious and we were very grateful for the generosity of everyone that contributed 🙂

We finally got to our Hotel, where I greedily consumed a number of cups of tea before crashing out as I knew we were in for a busy week (note the orange hair).

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We had decided to walk into town and back each day to be green and save some pennies but that first day we ended up in a cab as we had stuff to carry and it was raining but we were not perturbed and arrived early to register and sort out our table as we had just about had time to dump everything before the hall closed for the evening the day before.

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My gorgeous daughter and beautiful assistant for the week!  Next a walk round the hall to introduce you to a few of my fellow stallholders – amazing Goddesses, one and all!

2013-07-30 09.45.08 Heather, selling lovely silk and velvet scarves and flower headdresses (I am now the proud owner of no less that three scarves and one beautiful gown, plus two headdresses!)2013-07-30 09.45.31 Me womanning my stall 🙂 2013-07-30 10.02.14 2013-08-01 18.07.23The gorgeous Ronnie, recently from Egypt, selling all manner of goodies, including a few bits now in my possession, one of which is the necklace, which I fell in love with.  I thought it had been sold but my lovely daughter had secretly bought it for me as a present 😉2013-08-04 10.15.58

And Vikki, I call her Boudica ;), who makes jaw dropping silver and copper jewellery and yes, you guesses it, I have some of her lovely stuff too – and we are planning a collaborations and skills swap day, which I am very excited about!  She also teaches Yoga at The Little Yoga Rooms.

There were lots of others both new and people I had met last year but I didn’t manage to get pictures of everyone as we were all so busy but you can see more if you click the link to Tatomir’s article below!  Anyway, Shoshana, Sue and Ruth deserve a mention for organising us all and taking care of us.  Ember Vincent was there again this year with her lovely creations – yes, I do have one of her pieces 🙂  I am hoping to make some largish sculptures soon and she very generously gave me lots of useful information, for which I am grateful for.  There was Gwen, who did the most amazing Henna body art.  She makes her own henna – brilliant stuff, lovely and dark, so I had some of that too, as I have been known to dabble 😀  I popped up the the Assembly rooms to see who was there this year – if you recall, that’s where I was last year…

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There were many more and I’m sure I took more pictures but sadly, I can’t find them 😦

So, the first night brought the opening ceremony – wow!  It was amazing, beautiful, primal.  There are no photographs of this event once it got going as it was not appropriate but it was a very powerful performance and we all joined in the singing and dancing – what a great evening 🙂

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The next night was the night of the Lammas bonfire!  The procession left the Town Hall and we sang all the way to the location of the bonfire, which was uplifting and much fun!  The route took us up the high street, through an alley, round the houses and finally across a big field on a hill with lots of cow pats.  I had been serving a last minute customer and left my walking footwear under the table, so have a little chuckle now, as I fell off my shoes a few times and finally succumbed to borrowing a pair of my daughters sandals, effectively dragging my trouser bottoms though some suspicious looking brown gloopy material…did I mention it was a cow field?

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In a workshop earlier that day, many people (including my helper) had made a clay piece – their depiction of The Mother – which had been arranged around the bonfire.

There was much singing and dancing as the Mother was invited to join the ceremony!  There was a magical moment when the torch bearers came into view…

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More singing and dancing ensued when the fire was lit!  It was a lovely and joyous evening for everyone!

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We didn’t stay until the end as I was unsure if I would make it back down the hill in one piece in my daughters shoes in the pitch black!!  So we made our way back to the hotel exhausted but happy 🙂  And no, I didn’t fall flat on my face in the muck 😉

The walk to ‘work’ and back each day was refreshing, past the sheep, who we exchanged pleasantries with each morning and we returned the salute afforded us by the lone tree trunk.  Before we returned each night, we partook of tasty vittles at a local hostelry, The Beckets Inn, which I highly recommend – great food at great prices and lovely staff.

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As the week wore on, we met some wonderful people and had lots of laughs.  I have to say hello to Sarah – who bought lots of beads from me this year.  Sarah was the inspiration last year, for the pregnant Goddess beads.  Sarah was expecting twins when last I saw her and she had them the very next day – she had managed to hang on to them for the duration of the conference!  They were delivered safely and are a little pair of sweeties.  Sarah is planning a visit to my studio to see how I make my Goddess beads soon.  I look forward to that! 🙂

We also met Tatomir Ion-Marius, a journalist from Romania, who wrote an article all about us, which was published online.  The article appeared in the   Lots more pictures of the Town Hall stalls.

As the week draws to a close, there is much excitement about the masked ball.  Everyone gets to dress up as the Goddess or God of their choice and entry is not permitted unless one is suitable masked 🙂  I was the Goddess Sedna of the oceans deep!  We decided to make our own masks and my helper was dispatched to the local shops for paraphernalia and gubbins whih which to construct them.  She did such a great job, that soon others were asking her to make theirs too, so Lauren is now known as The Entrepenuerette 🙂

The following pictures were taken at the ball, among them are Sarah and her beautiful twins and one of my favourite ladies, Georgina 😀

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On the final day, the closing ceremony procession took place.  Sadly we couldn’t join in as we were preparing to pack up in readiness for our long journey home.  We start with a picture of Karin, whose outfit is entirely hand-stitched!

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And end with one as everyone returns to enter the Town Hall to finish the closing ceremony.

My helper and I had the most amazing week!  The atmosphere was fabulous and everyone was so friendly.  I also saw some of the local people who came to see me last year – and even though I have only been there twice, in a way, going to Glastonbury is a bit like going home 🙂

So, it’s over for another year and I have much stock to make to replace what I’ve sold.  More inspiration has been ferreted away ready for when I have time to play and many new friends have been made…

The journey home wasn’t quite so fraught as the journey there but is still took an hour longer than expected!  Anyway, just before I go, I would like to put a question to you.  We stopped in one of the M&S service stops on the way home to…never mind what for – in the conveniences, there was a soundtrack of birds twittering away.  I was wondering if it was playing to a) cover the sound of ladies tinkling or b) encourage said tinkling to improve turnover – answers on a postcard please 😉

Before I go, I would like to wish you well on your life’s journey.  Treat each other the way you like to be treated and hug lots.  Someone told me you need at least four hugs a day to maintain your health, well I’m not taking any chances, so if you find yourself hugged by a random stranger with orange hair, it might be me 😉

Not from the Village…

Three weeks!  Leading up to the move into my new studio, time seemed like wading through treacle.  Now though, it’s speeding along like the Eurostar on an ice rink!  Three weeks in and I am settling into a new routine.  No more working in my Jim Jams all day, oh no, now I even have to put a bit of slap on! 😉  Not quite corporate power dressing, with my bright red leather pinny and slouchy work boots but just the thing for melting glass – lots and lots of it! 🙂

As you can see, there is still a bit to do as far as storage and display goes, but the essentials are sorted – like the tea making facilities and the biscuits!

Before we get to that, I would like to introduce you to a good friend of mine.  A very talented and accomplished artist, who I shared a house with in my Uni days.  He has kindly let me display some of his work in my studio and now it not only smells like an art room, as my friend Mel commented when she paid a visit but it looks like a proper art studio now! 🙂  Julien Hatswell was born in 1968 – well that’s what he would like us to believe. I for one think that he spontaneously popped into existence following the brief opening of a little wormhole, that spewed him and his gorgeous art into our Universe, because it’s out of this world!  Following graduation from college in 1991, Julien briefly worked for a London toy design company sculpting prototypes and production pattern making. In 1995 he set up Baroque Designs, designing and manufacturing Gothic and Art Nouveau inspired ranges of home giftware sculptures. Over the years there have been many themes, inspiration fuelled by Goddess’s, Green Men, Gargoyles, Dragons, H.P.Lovecraft, Dali, Hotrod culture, and more recently, Owls. For over 25 years, Julien has also painted in his favorite medium of oils, selling originals to collectors in the UK and around the world.  I just wish I had more wall space, his paintings are amazing and I adore the clocks!  Can you see the fishy one to the left in the first picture?  I want one of those 🙂

The studio has been well and truly Christened now as I had a student in for a days tuition last week.  We had loads of fun!  I got to yak about glass, tools and glass techniques all day 🙂

Christine made some lovely beads – you would never believe they were her first lot! Very proud of her 🙂

I have found the time to make a few bits and bobs… I had to make mermaids and Goddesses as someone swept in on the Saturday and almost cleaned me out! 🙂

I just had to slip that little snake in 😉

I have been working on a couple of new things – one is a new line of jewellery…

Lastly, I am utterly fascinated by Tonbodama, Japanese lampwork and have been working on trying to recreate the 3-dimensional flowers in soft glass.  Satake glass is used in traditional Tonbodama (Dragonfly Eyes) and has a very low melting point compared to the soda-lime glass that I predominantly use, which means that minute detail can be achieved a little more easily – when I say easily, of course, there is nothing easy about it and it takes many hours of painstaking work to create some of the components used to make the bead, let alone the whole bead!  Fantastic contemporary examples are  made by Ayako Hattori.

Anyway, I have been plugging away at this behind the scenes – below are a couple of examples – please excuse the poor photography!

I can’t wait until the morning as there are two more in the kiln! 🙂  I will try to remember to post pictures next time – talking of which, I will be interviewing my fellow studio owners at Quex Park Craft Village, so watch out for an eclectic mix of artisan types to be features soon 🙂

And on that note, my little Stangler fish – he started off as a Stone fish and ended up an Angler fish!

And don’t forget, live life to the full, love each other and SMILE – it looks good on you 😉  Big hugs, Nanoo, Nannoo 😉

P.S.  I am from the village – I wanted to strike through the ‘Not’, but it wouldn’t let me – and I couldn’t think of another title 🙂

Goddess Conference 2012

Hello again!  If you read some of my previous posts, you will be aware that I was invited to attend this years Goddess conference in Glastonbury, to show and sell my work at the ‘In Her Image’ art exhibition.  The Goddess Conference is an annual event, drawing people from all over the globe to celebrate Lammas, join in workshops, listen to speakers, connect to peers, gives thanks for this beautiful planet we inhabit and generally have a wonderful time.  Below the images are a view of Glastonbury from the Tor and the main centre of the town.

Glastonbury, or Avalon, is a special place in the South West of the UK that is steeped in history, myths and legends.  It has a special energy which has to be experienced. It draws people back, time and time again and I can understand why.  The people I met there were really warm and welcoming.  The atmosphere was eclectic and cosmopolitan.  It was full of character, artists …and sales staff who wore fairy wings!  There are lots of shops selling crystals and semi-precious stones (ok, I admit it, I bought some for some jewellery I have been inspired to make but haven’t had time to have a go at yet :)).  The art exhibition was held in the Assembly rooms, built in 1864, which has a long history as a place of community and the arts.  Interestingly, during WWII,  the building was requisitioned for use as a social club for American GI’s- and Lindy Hop came to the South West of England 😉

For a list of artists displaying at the exhibition, follow this link  Goddess Conference 2012 where you will also find lots of information about the conference itself!

Assembly Rooms

Sacred Place – we all had a hand in decorating the floor 🙂

Beadwork by my mate Ange 🙂

Ember Vincent – Pagan ceramicist – I love this piece!

Sue Quatermass, Exhibition Curator (obviously, it’s not her, but her work ;))

Amber Skyes – I will soon own one of her prints 🙂

Sharing the space with such an amazing and talented bunch of people was a lovely and interesting experience – to be a part of the developing group dynamics over the five day period was most enjoyable!  There was a lovely feeling of belonging and it was quite sad when it was time to pack up and go back to our daily lives.  I met at least a few people who I know I will be seeing again and who I hope will remain a part of my life 🙂

Unfortunately I couldn’t be a part of the closing ceremony but I have a couple of pictures for you, which I hope has captured a tiny bit of the wonderful atmosphere as the procession marched from the town hall and through the town  🙂

That was almost the end of my adventure…but not quite!  I managed to get a bit lost on my way out of Glastonbury (due to my sat nav being a twat nav) and I ended up somewhere in Somerset, in a petrol station, where I noticed a petrol leak…Gah!  After a bit of a panic, the young man at the pumps managed to persuade his brother to help me out – so, long story short, my leak was fixed and I got home safely, albeit a bit later than planned!  Divine Goddess intervention??  If I had not got lost and had been on the motorway, who knows what might have happened!  My faith in humanity was restored by the random acts of kindness that I experienced and the unwavering hospitality of my old friends Ness and Rob, who provided accommodation, food and laughs 🙂

Upon my return, I was inspired to make more Goddesses – bet that surprised you 😉  I was inspired by a lovely lady who was heavily pregnant with twins – she gave birth naturally the day after I last spoke to her and mother and babies are all doing great!

On that note, I will leave you in peace until the next time…the following links will take you to more information about Glastonbury and the Goddess.  If you find yourself in Glastonbury, visit the Goddess Temple – it is an amazing tranquil space where you can leave your woes at the door and enjoy a bit of peace! Go well, treat yourself and each other right and take joy from the world around (yup!  I have always been a bit of a hippy at heart) 🙂

It’s Sticky! Or Is It…?

Well, it’s going to happen and it’s going to happen to anyone who produces anything half decent.  I am talking about copying – Ooooh!  A can of worms, as someone, I forget who, said in a forum thread at some point!    Look at ‘designer’ goods,  a huge industry has grown up around making ‘imitations’ and while considered illegal purely because of copyright laws (patents and the like too), gives hundreds of thousands of people food on the table.  Controvertial it may be but some of the ‘authentic’ items are  ridiculously overpriced.

In the art world, which includes lampwork, the position is a little more grey.  If you want a really good read about why copying in art is inevitable and possibly even neccessary, then take a look at Michael Demengs post on the subject:

In other instances it is not ok.  It’s not ok when it is blatant duplication, that is of course forgery.  I believe this to be relatively prolific when it comes to famous works of art and furniture – all about greed and status symbols, demand and supply.  It is not ok, when, as hapened to one of my friends recently, someone managed to get hold of some moulds of sculptures he did and then passed off the casts as his own!

With lampwork and jewellery people ‘discover’ new techniques that can give wonderful effects in glass, after all, for me, melting glass in new combinations is one big experiment!  In a lot of cases, these ‘new’ techniques are jealously guarded until a) the discoverer writes a tutorial b) becomes so successful that they are happy to share or c) some other bright spark discovers the technique all over again and it sort of becomes public domain as it is unclear who discovered it first!   I will be the first to admit to trying every single technique I can.  Not to copy someone elses work, but so I can incorporate its use into my own work to come up with some innovate piece of jewellery.

The necklaces below were made using a technique that I learned but they express my style in that I have used my own beads, colour combinations and other components sourced especially for the projects.

There are many examples like this in the lampwork community – I don’t have a problem with ‘copying’ techniques as that just serves to spur us on to come up with new and interesting designs, pushes creativity along and keeps you learning new things and adding to experience.  What I object to is a) duplicating, as in exact copying or copying my style and I am not just talking about beads.  ‘They’ say it is a huge compliment to have someone mimic your style.  I guess it is.  It can also be a tad irritating! 🙂  Anyway, here is what I have been doing since my last post! 🙂

I always have to make a few Goddess beads.    One of my friends said of my style of Goddess beads that  “They just feel so special in the hand, so perfect round the neck.  They are a celebration of the female form and grace …Maybe you are melting a bit of magic into the beads as well”  I must admit I quite often find myself holding one!!

I know it sounds soft, but there is something special about making Goddesses….a while back I tried making a male version but I wasn’t happy with the proportions of his torso and he didn’t ‘do it for me’, well I guess he wouldn’t would he 😉  Oh dear – that sounds wrong on so many levels, let’s just stop right there 🙂

There was a thread on a discussion board of a forum I belong to about the male version of Goddess beads.  The main focus was what do we call them and should they have ‘bits’.  The general concensus for a name was ‘Adonis’ beads, God beads being entirely inappropriate!   I did do one more, whose proportions pleased me – and for the record, I cannot imagine why there would be an objection to putting ‘bits’ on one!  For me at least, his bits define him as a male bead, rather than a lump with a few more lumps! 🙂

Something pink and girly just to balance things up a bit 🙂

And then there is my hand-pulled murrini test – I really like it!  And just  in case you were wondering, the webbing effect can be achieved by melting a gather of dark ivory, giving it a couple of smallish stripes of Hades, wrapping it in silver leaf and pulling into a stringer.  When applying to a bead – it works really well on ivory, heat until the glass is flowing, taking care not to let it drip off of the mandrel!!  Shape bead and voila, gorgeous webbing effect!  It looks great etched too!  Don’t let it be said that I never share 😉

And finally a play with some striking glass – this is where after melting, you let the bead cool, then warm it up again.  Each striking glass has it’s own little nuances, so one size doesn’t fit all and you have to play around until you find what works best for you…or you could just ask someone what they do!  Mind you, some people won’t want to tell you! 😉

Ok, enough for today – I am off to check out the wealth of inspiration we have in our little Universe!  Be happy, live long and prosper…nanoo, nanoo! 😉